by Flying Geese Consultant, Beckie Smith

Screen shot of Culture in Common website home page


Portsmouth City Council is the custodian for an outstanding international collection of material relating to the life, work and writing of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The Conan Doyle Collection received Arts Council in August 2021 for a project called The Detectives, giving cultural and creative skills and opportunities to autistic, neurodiverse and vulnerable adults.

What are we doing?

We facilitated a Theory of Change workshop and the development of an evaluation framework to underpin our methodology. Data was captured through highly adapted (to suit the neurodiversity of the participants) questionnaires, one to one conversations, workshops, process mapping exercises, training logs, catalogue reviews and project management assessments. Our work evaluated three main areas:

  • The impact of the creative experience on disabled people
  • The change in perception of the wider Library service and Portsmouth’s cultural scene of working with disabled people
  • Audience development

Legacy and Impact

Our evaluation has enabled Portsmouth CC Library service and the Conan Doyle Collection to understand the impact of the project on the participant’s wellbeing; the change participants’  life opportunities, the cultural impact on the participants; and the development and the preservation of heritage locally and internationally. We also evaluated the impact that the participants had on Portsmouth’s wider culture sector and reported on the new opportunities that have been made for disabled people as a result of this project. The team are now clear about what made this project a success and understand how these factors can be used in other projects.  They know where and how this project could have been improved and have a transferable risk management awareness. They also have a clear story and narrative which can be shared across the sector and position Portsmouth CC as an example of best practice.